Florida’s Mucho Macho Man returns to the races Saturday when he goes postward in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. The 1 1/8 mile race has drawn a field of seven older horses that will vie for the $750,000 purse and Mucho Macho Man has been installed as the 8-5 favorite in the morning line.
Bred in Florida by John and Carol Rio of Ocala, Mucho Macho Man will be looking to build on a good 2012 that has seen him win three of four races including two Grade 2 stakes and the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28. His other two wins came in the Gulfstream Park Handicap on Mar. 10 and in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park Jul. 7. Trained by Kathy Ritvo for Dean and Patti Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing of Sugar Hill, Ga., Mucho Macho Man’s only loss this year came in May at Churchill Downs when the 4-year-old colt was third behind Successful Dan and Fort Larned in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes. Mike Smith gets the mount on Mucho Macho Man who will break from post three.
Although Mucho Mach Man has won $1.3 million from his six career wins, the bay son of Macho Uno will be trying to garner the first Grade 1 win for himself and his trainer.
“He’s training very good,” Ritvo said. “We’re ready to go. This will be our first Grade 1 if we’re blessed with that.”
Second choice in the morning line is To Honor and Serve who races in the black, white and red colors of Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation in Ocala. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, To Honor and Serve will be trying to avenge his last race when fourth, beaten seven lengths by Mucho Macho Man in the Suburban. Before that, To Honor and Serve was a good third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap behind winner Shackleford and runner-up Caleb’s Posse in what has been one of the fastest races of the year. That day Shackleford covered the mile in 1:33.30 and racked up a 115 Beyer Speed Figure while To Honor and Serve earned a 109 number. Mike Smith gets the return mount on To Honor and Serve who has drawn post six.
If one is to race as a long shot, perhaps there is no better place than Saratoga to make a run which is what trainer Bruce Brown is doing with 30-1 morning line choice Gourmet Dinner. Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud and William J. Terrill of Ocala, Gourmet Dinner was last seen finishing fourth behind winner San Pablo in the Philip Islin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 18. Before that, the 4-year-old bay colt won the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes, also a Monmouth on Jul. 29. A graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2010 April Sale of Two Year Old in Training where he sold for $40,000 from the consignment of Ocala Stud, Gourmet Dinner now races for Terrill’s Our Sugar Bear Stable. Gourmet Dinner will break from post two with jockey Alan Garcia in the irons.
Others entered in the Woodward include Monmouth Cup (G2) winner Ruler from the Todd Pletcher barn; Trickmeister, winner of $88,000 Vanlandingham Stakes at Belmont Park in May and trained by Rick Dutrow; Stay Thirsty, also to be saddled by Pletcher and a winner of the Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers Stakes (G1) at the Spa last summer but winless in four starts since; and Cease, the Al Stall Jr. trainee who comes into the Woodward off of an optional claiming race victory at Saratoga Jul. 25 and the winner of the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park in March.
Photo by Reed Palmer